Since I did not write an article for the January newsletter, I’ll say it now, “Happy New Year!” It is another year under God’s grace. Continuing the “Catechism” theme I have been using for my newsletter articles of late, it is fitting to focus on the First Article of the Creed this month. I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

In 6 days (24 hour periods) the Father, with the Son and Holy Spirit, created and formed all things, visible and invisible, ex nihilo (out of nothing). On the sixth day, God created the highest of His visible creation, namely man. He delighted in His creation. Everything was very good.

But man fell, and so did all of creation. But the Father did not abandon creation. He continues to preserve His creation. He preserves the world, as He says in Genesis 8:22, “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

He also continues to create man through procreation, as Psalm 139 says, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.”

The last verse above also shows God’s care for us each and every one of our days. Jesus also speaks of the Father’s care of mankind, saying, “He makes His sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). Jesus also gets the point across in Matthew 6:25-33 that the Father who clothes the lilies of the field and feeds the birds of the air will provide for your needs, for you are much more valuable than they.

And the Father not only preserves our bodies, but He preserves our souls. He does it by sending His only begotten Son into the world to redeem the world with His holy and precious blood and His innocent suffering and death, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

So we consider our heavenly Father who we thank for our lives and His care for our bodies and souls. Luther concludes his meaning to this article of the Creed, God does all this “purely out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me; for all which I am in duty bound to thank and praise, to serve and obey Him. This is most certainly true.”

Dear friends in Christ, God is your loving Creator and Preserver. No matter what things come your way in 2017 and beyond, He will keep you and uphold you. And you are not only His creation, but you are His baptized believer, purchased with the precious blood of Christ, a member of the household of faith. How precious you are to Him. As Psalm 121 says, and as was likely spoken at your baptism, God will keep your “going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” May you live each day in the confidence of these truths. Amen.